Paul Simon

Graceland: The Remixes

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Released while Paul Simon was in the thick of his Homeward Bound farewell tour of North America, Graceland: The Remixes pushes his monumental 1986 album into the realm of modern electronic music. Considering how Simon wrote nearly all of the album's songs to rhythmic tracks, it's a curious choice and the execution is even curiouser, as the assorted DJs -- including Paul Oakenfold, Groove Armada, Thievery Corporation, and Photek -- essentially keep large portions of the vocal tracks in place and ditch everything surrounding them, including the elastic bass and winding guitars. This is a relatively standard move for remixers, so it isn't unexpected, but it dramatically alters the feel of the Graceland material, turning something fluid into something flat. Matters are complicated by how the vocal tracks are the only elements that survive, a decision that keeps the tracks recognizable as melodies but not songs. Every cut feels diminished without the original backing musicians, and while there are some nice chillout grooves scattered through this remix album, it's not enough to sustain interest.

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